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It'd Be OK if Every Mosquito Died

Scientists say that a mosquito genocide wouldn't hurt the ecosystem much. We explain that, and more weird facts, in this week's Today I Learned on TIL.
August 14, 2013, 2:58pm

Remember all of the BBQs and day drinking you've been doing all summer? Well, it's all about to come crashing down on you like a truckload of packing snow dumped off of a condominium tower. While you try and squeeze out the last drops of sweet, sweet summer, we thought we'd round-up some of the more interesting shit we've learned on the ol' internet about summer livin'. Enjoy.

A presumably wasted Cedar Waxwing. via WikiCommons.

Cedar Waxwing Birds Are Serious Alcoholics

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It’s normal to feel a tinge of shame when you realized you got blackout drunk on a weekend cottage getaway. But don’t beat yourself up over it, turns out getting wasted in the summer is completely natural; just ask a North American cedar waxwing bird.

TIL Berry eating birds get wasted by eating overripe fruit in the summer

In the heat of the summer, berries can get overripe, causing them to gain enough alcohol content to get a bird drunk. The squishy fruit is appealing to songbirds of North America like the cedar waxwing. While getting really drunk for a human typically means dealing with a bad hangover and several drunken texts to your co-workers and ex-one-night-stands, getting wasted for a bird means there’s a much higher risk of death. Drunk and disoriented birds that may fall out of trees are easy pickings for hungry street cats. But even if they do escape their natural predator, intoxicated birds have a higher risk of flying into obstructions, seriously injuring themselves. In birds, just like in humans, the naïve teens are the most likely to overindulge.

Putting weed and ice cream together is fucking genius. via Flickr.

Some Ice Cream Trucks Sell Drugs

What could be better than finding an ice cream truck on a hot summer day? How about an ice cream truck that also sold you weed! Yes! Ice cream treats and drugs, could there be a more perfect match? In Glasgow, Scotland, that actually happened, but it didn't work out too well:

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TIL that rival ice cream truck drivers in Glasgow in the 80s sold drugs from their trucks, shot at each other, and committed arson in the Glasgow Ice Cream Wars.

Rival drug dealers peddled product around town using their ice cream sales as decoys. Eventually, a serious territorial dispute led to inter-gang violence. On April 16th 1984, six members of the Doyle family (including three children) were burned alive in their East-end home as reminder not to fuck with ice cream drug dealers. The deaths caused uproar in Glasgow and resulted in a 20-year court case in which Thomas "T C" Campbell and Joe Steele, were tried for the murders, convicted unanimously and sentenced to life in prison.

A photo from a series of every 7-11 in Winnipeg… Yeah, we know. via Flickr.

Winnipeg Is Still the Slurpee Capital of the World

If ice cream isn’t your thing and you happen to be near Winnipeg, maybe opt for a Slurpee instead, you may get to have your photo taken with the elusive Slurpee Capital Trophy Cup.

TIL More Slurpee's have been sold in Winnipeg, Manitoba than anywhere else in the world for 14 years running.

Winnipeg might not be winning hockey games, but they’re leagues ahead of the competition when it comes to Slurpee consumption. Last month 7-Eleven announced that Manitoba’s capital would hold the title of Slurpee Capital of the World for the 14th year running. And this year they received the first-ever Slurpee Capital Trophy Cup. People could stop by their local 7-eleven to have their photo taken with the cup alongside mascot Mr. Slurpee.

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Tim Donegan, vice president for 7-Eleven Canada, said Winnipeg has come out on top despite some stiff competition. Calgary and Detroit not too far behind and could snag the title in future years. But not to fear, Donegan says he has, “faith in Manitobans and their passion for all things Slurpee. It’s a title they’re extremely proud of and it really shows how Slurpee is truly a part of our culture—it’ll take a lot to beat that.”

So, congratulations Winnipeg…I guess.

Wipe 'em out! via Flickr.

It'd Be No Big Deal if All the Mosquitos Died

Summer is a time for exploring the great outdoors. Unfortunately it’s also the time for bloody-thirsty, fun-ruining mosquitos. So what do you do when your cottage weekend has turned into a mosquito convention? Kill them! Kill them all! And don’t let your PETA loving vegan friend make you feel bad about it either:

TIL Many scientists have suggested that the complete eradication of mosquitoes would not have serious ecological consequences.

A few weeks ago, the science journal Nature published an article that claimed the eradication of mosquitoes isn’t just possible without mucking up the delicate ecosystem—it’s also in the best interest of humanity. Best news ever, right?

The article noted that Malaria (a disease commonly spread by mosquitoes) infects around 247 million people every year, and kills nearly 1 million. By squashing mosquitoes we are actually decreasing the spread of many dangerous diseases including malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, and West Nile virus. Not to mention we’d be rid of the annoying and itchy mosquito bite forever!

While it’s true that fish, reptile, birds, and bats feed on mosquitoes, evidence suggest there are many other insects that could supplement their diets. So the next time you see a group of mosquitoes, don’t go easy on the OFF! Murder them all instead.

Follow Monica on Twitter: @MonBlaylock

Previously on Today I Learned on TIL:

Viagra Will Give a Flower a Boner